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15 Winston Way Redwood City, California 94061

This 12-36 HP Russell steam traction engine is No. 12857 of
17,156 machines built in Massillon, Ohio, from 1842-1927. No.
12857, built June 6, 1906, was originally sold through the Russell
dealer in Portland, Oregon, and spent its working life operating a
threshing machine in the area around Junction City, Oregon. In the
1970s, No. 12857 appeared annually at Scandinavian Days in Junction
City, operating a flour mill. Dr. Charles Whitcher of Standford
purchased No. 12857 in the late 1980s from Robert Smith of Eugene,
Oregon. Robert’s father, Willis Smith, had operated the tractor
during its working life, in the 1920s. We purchased the tractor
from Dr. Whitcher in 1993.

The tractor was in relatively good shape for its age when we
purchased it, but we have put several hundred hours into the
restoration. I disassembled and cleaned parts, making new ones
where necessary. My wife Margret did almost all of the painting at
one time we had almost 300 individual parts at home, each getting
cleaned followed by one coat of primer and two coats of finish

We are indebted to the following people for their help in
restoring #12857:

Erwin Brandt, Hay-ward manufactured a new piston for crosshead

Karl Christoffersen, Rohnert Park did detail painting;

Tom Diehl, Navarre, Ohio, gave paint scheme and color

Dave Dubbel, Redwood City, repair of the governor gear;

Don Hineman, San Carlos devoted much sand-blasting time, donated
valves and other small parts;

Bob and Robert Peter, Half Moon Bay did boiler repairs, all the
heavy stuff, good advisor;

Gale Rhoton, Hayward helped build new water tank;

Alan Schurman, Ridgefield, Washington did rear wheel and axle
repair and supplied a missing injector part;

Chuck Whitcher, Stanford was a good advisor, a helping hand
wherever needed;

Dick Wiley, Arroyo Grande, loaned stay bolt taps; and Craig
Williams, Scotts Valley, did checkout and calibration of gauge and
safety valve.

No. 12857 produces 12 drawbar horsepower, or 36 brake
horsepower, at 275 rpm. It has a single cylinder, double acting
engine, 7 inch bore by 10 inch stroke. Shipping weight is 12,050
pounds; its boiler holds 125 gallons (935 pounds) of water at
operating level. The flywheel weighs 450 pounds. Its top speed is
2.33 miles per hour. The 1923 price of the 12-36 HP engine was
$2,600. A full canopy added $90; a headlight $8.50.

Credit for the photo goes to my son, Karl Christofferson, who
also participated in the restoration.

Farm Collector Magazine
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Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment